Board of Directors
Shuna K. Hayward, Chairperson
Shuna has been active in the youth development and after school community in Detroit since locating from California in 1998. Shuna currently works for Connect Detroit as the Vice President of Programs. She received her bachelor’s Degree in Human Biology with a concentration in Child Development from Stanford University and earned her Master’s in Education from Harvard University. She has worked in other youth services spaces including the Indiana Youth Institute and the Center for Leadership Development in Indianapolis, Indiana; the Medical Foundation in Boston, Massachusetts; and the Youth Development Commission in Detroit. She also serves on the board of the Michigan Afterschool Association and Wellspring. She was recognized as one of Crain's Detroit 2018 Notable Women in Nonprofits. She and her husband have 4 children.
Ayo Thomas, Vice Chairperson
Ayo Thomas is an arts practitioner, administrator, and advocate. Ayo values agency within creative and cultural spaces and believes that diligence, encouragement, opportunity, and vision are key to sustainable work. She recognizes that culture is a fundamental expression of people’s relationship with the environment and seeks to reinforce this consciousness in her work. Ayo holds a Master of Arts in Arts and Cultural Management. ('18) from Michigan State University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (International Relations, '11) from Fisk University.
Jacob Walker, Treasurer
Jacob Walker joined DTE Energy in 2009 as a participant in their Advanced Degree Development program. He is currently serving
as a Manager for the Center of Excellence focused on strategy and analytics for the Corporate Services organization which is
responsible for DTE Energy’s procurement, warehousing, fleet and facilities operations. Jacob joined DTE Energy in 2009 as a
participant in their Advanced Degree Development program. Prior to his current role, he has served in multiple capacities
including decision support, gross margin, corporate finance, and financial forecasting and analysis. Prior to relocating to Michigan,
Jacob lived in Georgia where he worked for ATT in multiple financial and analytical capacities.
While in Michigan, Jacob has served his community in several ways including the BING Institute as a member of new government
initiative, Real Life 101 a mentoring program focused on inner city black males, and STEP an internal program to DTE Energy
focused on employment opportunities for underexposed youth. Currently he serves as a mentor with the BING Youth Institute, a
mentor program for young black males. He is grateful for the opportunity to serve and be of service to Michigan and its citizens.
Jacob is a graduate of Alabama State University earning a Bachelors of Science in Accounting and Kennesaw State University with
a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance.
Jacob was born in Gary, Indiana and currently resides in Detroit, Michigan.
Lindiwe Lester, Board Secretary
Lindiwe is a retired non-profit senior executive; her final role was as the YMCA’s national office’s senior consultant for the southeast US and Puerto Rico. Her team served as strategic business partners to nearly 200 YMCA leadership teams in 13 states. Their consultations focused on organizational capacity building, executive coaching and onboarding, strategic planning, board governance and community collaboration. Lindiwe is currently President and Founder of Tap In Coaching and Consulting, which allows her the flexibility to balance her time with community service, enhancing family connections, traveling and writing. She holds a masters and post-masters degrees in instructional and human performance systems, and has certifications in executive coaching and behavior analytics.
LaToya Morgan is a nonprofit professional with an eclectic background in public policy, program evaluation, and organizational development. Currently, she is a private consultant working in the public sector with nonprofits and foundations to provide advising and technical assistance around policy and advocacy. She has worked in local and state government including time with noted former city council president Maryann Mahaffey on Detroit City Council. Her professional background includes political campaigns and professional staff at large and small nonprofit organizations.
Venus Randle is a senior manager in Supply Chain at DTE Energy (NYSE:DTE), a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Randle is past Chair of the North Oakland YMCA Board of Directors. She served on the Penn State University Paul Robeson Cultural Center Alumni Advisory Board. She is a member of the American Association of Blacks in Energy.
Joseph Gause, Program Operations Coordinator